Friday, June 4, 2010

The Thanos Imperative #1 Review *Spoilers*

After releasing a primer on this event earlier today, you probably should have expected me to come back with an image and spoiler heavy review of the first issue of The Thanos Imperative.  Hit the jump to find out how the first issue holds up!

Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Art by Miguel Sepulveda

First off, this issue reminded me a lot of Annihilation in both scope and tone.  We've got an army from another universe invading ours, all the heavy hitters - Thanos, Nova, Silver Surfer, Drax, Gamora, Gladiator, etc - involved, the prelude issue featured a huge reveal and kicked the war off with a bang last week and we even get a flashback to the original Annihilation to start the issue off.  

Where both Annihilation: Conquest and War of Kings were sort of their own events and had their own themes and pacing, this is the first one that has recaptured that magic of the first Annihilation for me.  Both were good in their own right and went their own way, but neither felt like a true sequel to Annihilation.  Thanos Imperative does. 

Rocket Raccoon threatens the weakened Thanos with the prospect of endless life.

One thing I think Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have managed to perfect over the course of their previous two events is the art of juggling their ensemble cast.  There's a lot of people involved in this event and lots of bases to cover.  They skillfully jump back and forth between these characters, always giving us just enough pages and information to make each moment matter without dragging down the story or creating jarring shifts in narrative.  Every page feels important on some level and like the content we are getting matters and that's something many events struggle with delivering.  Every event can manage a big splashpage or shock death or stunning reveal.  Few can keep the story between these moments just as engaging.

If you read last week's Thanos Imperative: Ignition, you're familiar with the story.  Adam Warlock/Magus destroyed several Universal Church of Truth planets and the faith power they had stored up in an effort to breach The Fault and make way for the arrival of his lord, the evil version of Captain Mar-Vell from the Cancerverse, the universe found on the other side of The Fault during the recent Realm of Kings storylines.  This universe is one in which life has won out and now grows out unchecked like a cancerous tumour.  They've literally filled their universe with the twisted, Lovecraftian monsters and doppleganger versions of our heroes and are looking to metastasize into ours.  But first, they have to kill death in our universe or, at least, the Avatar of Death, presumably Thanos, though there are hints given here that he may not actually be the true avatar.

Meet The Revengers - evil versions of our Avengers from the Cancerverse

This issue continues the story set up in Ignition by showing the aftermath of The Fault armies invading our universe. The Kree and Shi'ar armadas stationed at The Fault were nearly decimated in the explosion set off by Magus and are now shown struggling against the Cancerverse monsters.  

While the two empires deal with the initial onslaught of The Fault forces, the Guardians of the Galaxy were shown dealing with Thanos, who broke free of his restraints in Ignition.  I loved this scene primarily for the Rocket Raccoon moment.  Thanos had Starlord in a death grip and was about to kill him before Rocket Raccoon showed up in a power suit.  He knew the suit wouldn't kill Thanos and told him as much.  However, he tells Thanos that the suit will disable him in his weakened state long enough for them to drop him off at a nearby black hole.  Yes, Rocket knows Thanos's weakness - he doesn't want to live.  The event horizon would ensure Thanos lived an endless life and be unable to die.  It was a great scene and captured what made both Thanos and Rocket great characters.  

A quiet moment of contemplation for the Silver Surfer as he observes the fallout of the war at The Fault.

Another stunning moment in its simplicity was the arrival of the Silver Surfer.  We were following the battle at The Fault between our universe's protectors and the Cancerverse's initial wave of monsters.  This is a losing battle for us and we see each group taking heavy losses and the chaos that is ensuing.  This is then juxtaposed with a zoomed out view of the conflict from the Silver Surfer's perspective light years away.  Like I said, it's a simple scene, but powerful in its execution.

From here, Abnett and Lanning move the story forward at breakneck speeds.  The Guardians of the Galaxy learn of the conflict at The Fault and decide to enlist Thanos's aid in stopping it.  Thanos gets his old yellow and blue costume back and even Drax gets in on the retro look with a new costume based more on his older green and purple Drax costume instead of the Vin Diesel look he'd been sporting.  The two even have a great moment where they acknowledge Thanos's death at Drax's hands in Annihilation while poking some fun at the nature of death in comics. The issue ended with the group using Knowhere's teleporters to enter the Cancerverse for some unknown reason (it's not explicitly stated why they go or what they are looking for), but are immediately confronted by that universe's evil version of the Defenders.  

It's rare that a preview page for the next issue can overshadow everything else in a comic, but with a page like this, it'd be hard for almost anything to top it.

There was one more thing that made this issue special for me and it was the sketch previews for issue two found at the back.  In a word, these are epic.  I loved this first issue and it had me believing it was the true successor to the original Annihilation, but these preview pages were absolutely amazing.  The most pertinent one to mention is the splashpage featuring Galactus, Tenebrus and Aegis all united together and shown destroying The Fault forces. I don't know how anyone could see this page and not be excited or left in anguish over the fact we have to wait another month for the next issue.

Final thing worth touching upon is the art.  Miguel Sepulveda does some nice work here, but I felt it was a little inconsistent.  There are moments it looks stunning, like with the Silver Surfer moment or any pages with The Fault forces, such as the Revengers or evil Defenders, not to mention that Galactus preview page, but there are others, like the early Guardians of the Galaxy pages and some of the Shi'ar and Kree moments, that look rushed or like someone else drew them, particularly when it comes to facial expressions.  Overall, I'm quite happy with the art, but it's no Paul Pelletier (War of Kings) or Andrea Di Vito (Annihilation) either. 

Verdict - Must Read.  The only imperative you need concern yourself with is finding a copy of this issue.  An event comic done right and one you won't want to miss out on. 

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Anonymous said...

god I hop[e nova dies

I-VAN the CRIPPLER said...

.......... seriously???

Brandon Whaley said...

Infinity Gauntlet is my favorite event of all time, and Annihilation got me back into Marvel. This event seems to be channeling both, which is exciting. I'm really digging this. If only the rest of the Marvel U was as good as the cosmic side.

I-Van, I'm curious what you're saying "Seriously?" about.

Anonymous said...


yes he is a boring character and that is why it got cancelled. nova needs a much needed reboot because the last 30 issues have been crap

I-VAN the CRIPPLER said...

i was surprised that someone wanted NOVA to die.....hes been amazing...his tie ins to war of kings was top notch and so were his tie ins to secret invasion....hes been the mainstay of MARVEL cosmic since annihilation...

Klep said...

The reason the Guardians went to the Cancerverse is because Thanos and Star Lord decided taking Thanos there would be giving the Cancerverse the one thing it doesn't want: death. It doesn't seem to be working out too well for them yet.

Brandon Whaley said...


I agree. While I personally prefer the Guardians, Nova has been top-notch as well. He's been at the forefront of the cosmic revival since Annihilation and, while I personally wish they'd have used the Surfer as their poster child, I'm really happy with what DnA have done with Nova.

Kirk Warren said...

@Klep - I understand they want to bring death to them, but I dont think they honestly believe Thanos is death personified and will cause them to start dying in that universe either. I was just wondering what the actual plan was. Go there adn kill everyone?

Anonymous said...

The Great Anonymous

Hello guys, great review. What i do not understand yet is the following. The cancerverse is the universe where death has been extinguished... is not this a good thing? I mean who does not want to be a immortal? I know that at least in a superheroes world everyone of them would want to be immortal.

Death has always been the primary enemy to defeat in all the events in all the ComicBook companies (not only the big two).

It may make a lot of sense to a lot of people here, but it is somehow strange that they are calling "cancer" to the endless life.

Geez I got too metaphorical here. Damn! I am a fanboy afterall.

Great review keep up the god work.

Klep said...

@Kirk - I think it was just go there and see what happens. Unfortunately what happened was that Thanos passed out. The Guardians have never been that big on forward planning. They've always just gone in and then planned things as they went.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 9: Cancer is in real life essentially the harmful growth (creation and life) of abnormal cells. It causes death because of where the cells are and how they interfere with the body, but it does so via the creation of life (the cells).

The cancerverse is like that...."life" has won, but the result is these abnormal growths (the lovecraftian monsters and the evil Avengers) which well threaten to destroy our universe as we know it.

Ivan said...

I think the metaphor "life=cancer" is pretty good from a cosmic perspective. Imagine Earth if people were immortal.

Anonymous said...

The Great Anonymous

@Ivan: would not that be great? Imagine being like Dracula or Savage Vandal or .... yeah sounds stupid but who does not want to "live forever" (great song by Oasis by the way)

One more tought, so the goal of the cancerverse beings is to:
a)kill all of the life in 616 and then go to the next universe
b)"infect" all of the 616 life by not letting any of their living beings to experiment death and then continue to infect a new universe?

Kirk Warren said...

@The Great Anon - They dont want to kill anyone. They outgrew their universe due to the cancerous growth of life and lack of death. T hey expanded here and want to end death here and continue the process as well as converting everything to the Many Angled Ones (gods/Lovecraftian monster things).

Ivan said...

@The Great Anonymous: I think you focusing on the individual perspective and missing the big picture.

Let me put it this way: imagine Earth if no one ever died. It doesn't have to be since the beginning of time, set the "cut" date 50 years ago.

Imagine the overcrowding, the lack of resources, the general lack of point in living. There is no death, but is there still suffering (hunger, pain, etc)? If so, Earth would become Hell pretty fast.

If there is no suffering, then Earth becomes an hedonistic paradise for a few years, because that would be the absolutely only point in living. But what comes after that?

Aaron K said...

While the splashpage from next issue is incredibly exciting, it's also incredibly confusing. Tenebrous and Aegis both perished in combat with the Silver Surfer in the energies of the Crunch in Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #2. That makes me think that maybe that splash isn't actually happening NOW. Also, it looks like another of the proemial god's feet may be visible in the top right corner.

Brandon Whaley said...

@Aaron K
This is true, but remember these are "gods" so that may or may not have killed them. And if it did, well, Thanos is back, why not these guys? Haha

Anonymous said...

Wasn't said before that if galactus ever die the universe would be destroyed along with him? Or how was that?

Anonymous said...

@Aaron K

although the last few cosic stories have been good . the cosmic universe are still a mess

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